Nov 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Chicken Stuffing

Stuffing is my favorite dish of the holidays.  In fact I remember when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, my first thought was, " I will never be able to eat stuffing?"  That was before I knew better.  This is my typical stuffing but I made it a bit lighter by using sweet chicken sausage instead of  pork sausage.  I thought I was making a dairy free stuffing but I definitely dropped the ball on this one.  I used ALEIA's GF stuffing mix and I didn't look at the ingredients before I cooked.  It turns out this stuffing has milk. I made double the portion because whatever my guests don't finish I will freeze for leftovers!

 So because my daughter is gluten and dairy free, I will modify this recipe for Thanksgiving. I will be  using a GFDF bread, cutting each slice into crouton size pieces, spraying them with olive oil and a little garlic and roasting them in the oven till crisp.  I will still use this recipe just a different bread.  I also calculated based on 1/4 cup because we will be eating other carbs on this day so we can eat a little bit of each. Personally, I could forgo all the other carbs and just double on this!

Nov 25, 2013

Cazuela Pie (Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Coconut )

Confused about whether to make a pumpkin or a sweet potato pie?  How about combining both? The result is fantabulous!  Cazuela pie is a traditional dessert invented in Puerto Rico.  It is a combination of Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and coconut milk.  It is traditionally made with full fat coconut milk and cooked in a banana leaf.  I lightened this baby up and put a graham cracker crust with such success that this pie became the star of this dinner.

Now, don't get me wrong the turkey and jasmine rice & peas can hold their own.  However,  anybody who has a gluten and a dairy allergy can attest to the fact that a good dessert that we could eat is not easy to come by.  When my best friend eats good food she has a habit of saying, it's so good that, "it makes you wanna slap your mama"  I never did get what that meant until I tried this pie!  I will slap anybodies mama who tried to take this pie from me! lol

So this is the new "must have" on my table every Thanksgiving holiday.  Actually,  I may be making it more often then I think cause my daughter can't stop talking about it.  I made a small portion of whipped coconut cream for my daughter.  I did not eat it since I am counting points but my daughter is a size zero and could use all the fat she can get.  It was easy enough to make.  Put a can of coconut milk (not low fat) in the refrigerator overnight or for a couple of hours to separate the coconut cream from the water.  Open it carefully and remove the top layer of coconut cream, place it in a bowl and save the coconut water for future use. whip the cream till you have soft peaks and add 2 tbsp of confectionery sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla.  A dollop of this will elevate this pie to another level but keep it simple if you're counting points.

Lite Plantain & Chorizo Stuffing

Gluten free can be really boring! Spice it up with this insane plantain stuffing! Make it with my  Pavochon Turkey to impress any audience.  In Puerto Rico this is the traditional stuffing that is made with a Pavochon but it is usually double fried and very high in fat.  Here is my lightened up version and my taste buds could not tell the difference between this and and the original.  Instead of frying the plantains I steamed them.

Gluten Free Natural Turkey Gravy

I know this gravy looks like baby food.  I have never made my gravy like this.  However,  when my turkey was done, I had all these vegetables; celery, carrots, onions and natural seasoning from the turkey,  I decided to put it all in the blender and puree everything.  I also shredded the meat on the neck, giblet and liver and added it into the gravy after it was pureed. The only other ingredient I added was 4 cups of GF Chicken stock. So the orange color is the carrots.  The flavor was amazing!  I used this chicken stock for both of my gravies and all of the flavors were intensified.  The rich and savory flavors bursting through this gravy will make any turkey a hit. This recipe made apron 10 cups.  

Quick Sofrito


I realized when I looked back at my previous sofrito recipe that I needed something a little simpler. Especially when you're about to throw down a Thanksgiving Dinner.  So heres a quick recipe that will get you through the holidays.  This will give you a little over 1.5 trays, and each cube is approximately 2 Tbsp per cube. Having sofrito takes your food to another level with half the effort.

Quick Sofrito 

  • 2  Batches cilantro or culantro 
  • 1  large onion
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10 sweet chiles (ajices dulces)

Wash and cut the cilantro/culantro.  Chop all the ingredients and de-seed the sweet peppers. I leave a little seed just to get a little heat.

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse but don't blend.  Its nice to have the chunks and pieces of all of the ingredients.    

Jasmine Rice and Pigeon Peas

OK so I am obsessed with jasmine rice! So obsessed that I decided to make a traditional arroz con gandules (Rice and Peas) with Jasmine rice. It was a huge hit! I used the Carolina Jasmine rice and quite honestly, I don't think I will ever go back.  I tried the Trader Joe's Jasmine rice before but did not get the same result.   I also used Goya frozen Peas cause they are much fresher.  For everyday cooking I use the can gandules (peas) with good results, but when I want to make it special I go for the frozen peas. I also go that extra yard by using banana leaves to cover the rice. The aroma of the peas and the banana leaves cooking reminds me of family and home.    

Roasted Turkey - Pavochon

Ok so I am back from my hiatus, just in time for my favorite dishes of the year! I will be posting recipes throughout the next couple of days since I am so late in the game and want to make sure y'all don't miss out on how a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is done back home in Puerto Rico. Let's start with the star of the show El Pavochon.  A Pavaochon is a turkey (pavo) seasoned like a Pig (lechon).  This tukey is deliciously succulent and moist! Just make sure you keep it under 14 pounds cause you risk losing moisture when the turkey is bigger.  If you need more turkey make two.  

I have had an ongoing debate with my family on whether to cook the turkey facing up or turn it midway. My family has always cooked the turkey face down for half the cooking time and then they turn it up for the remaining time. Their turkey is always delicious but it doesn't look as pretty.  I wanted my turkey to look like the ones in the magazine. So I decided to put the question to rest.  I tried cooking the turkey facing up the whole time and even lifted the turkey on the grate, so the juices and fat can drop. My turkey was nowhere near as juicy as theirs. They had a good laugh and said I was no longer allowed to cook the turkey if I was going to continue using my method.  So I compromised.  I cooked the turkey facing down for only the first hour.  This allowed the breast to absorb all those delicious juices and still allowed my turkey to look pretty.

Ok so lets get to cooking.  This marinade is all you will need to wow your guests  this holiday.  I start marinating 2 days before it actually goes in the oven.  The flat leaf herb is called recao or culantro.  It is found in spanish specialty stores.  I use this in my marinade but you can substitute it with cilantro. It is very similar, except the flat leaf has like 10 times the power.  I just love using this leaf on special occasions.
This is what your turkey should look like once it is seasoned and before it goes in the oven.  The flavors are just infused in that bird.  That's no jive turkey!  My calorie calculations are based on a 12 pound turkey which yields approximately 5 pounds of meat off the bone.